"I pick a sprig of parsley from the garden and enjoy its fresh, subtle taste — an essence born from the work of countless generations who have nurtured this herb, who chose to save seed from the vigorous plants and from those that possessed the most satisfying aromas and flavors. Here is not just a sprig of parsley, but a living historical record of every choice made by the herbalists who planted its antecedents, the keepers of the lineage. This simple herb has stored in its green memory the best qualities of its progenitors. Its lacy, unpretentious pale leaves express the sum of the very virtue that parsley has come to symbolize over the ages: knowledge.

"Through our role in the evolution of herbs and other plants we have become cocreators of each other. Plants have, however, in their quiet way, steadfastly bent us to their wills. Each time we choose to plant the seeds from particular herbs, we act as their agents of change, creating a new generation that is stronger and more vigorous. By saving seeds and planting heirloom varieties, we perpetuate the genetic wisdom of plants.

"Wandering amid the diverse array of herbs, I note how, during the night, the flower heads of many have turned to greet the morning sun. What is a plant but a fellow being whose temporal world moves at a slower pace than that of animals, we who often act in haste before fully understanding the repercussions of our actions, or even the nature of our intent?

"Therein lies the wisdom of plants, which understand the virtue of simply being, of allowing the knowledge accrued by each generation and the vicissitudes of the environment to leave marks upon their progeny. Whether a garden herb or an ancient tree, in plants, God has given the world its true contemplatives. Their open leaves seek the light, even while roots probe the dark recesses of the soil. Plants are both yang and yin, green and complete."